Ethiopia Travel Vaccines & Advice
Ethiopia is a fascinating country in many ways. The most populous landlocked nation in the world is considered as the cradle of mankind, as it hosts the oldest archaeological sites in the world with the presence of Homo sapiens. Over the years, Ethiopia has gained respect for its successful military resistance to European colonists. Ethiopia has always remained independent and is the only African nation which was never occupied. The continent’s largest continuous mountain range is found in Ethiopia, as well as luxuriant jungles and countless beautiful rivers. Of all the African countries, Ethiopia offers its visitors the highest number of World Heritage Sites.
HEALTH ADVICE FOR TRAVEL TO Ethiopia
We make every effort to ensure that the information posted on our website is up to date and accurate according to the latest public health recommendations; however, travel health and safety risks in Ethiopia can change daily.
For the most current travel health recommendations for Ethiopia, please call our clinic as make an appointment with one of our travel health professionals.
ETHIOPIA – RECOMMENDED VACCINES
A proof of vaccination against yellow fever may be required upon entry to Ethiopia.
Some travellers may not be eligible to receive this vaccine. Please enquire with our health care professional regarding your specific details.
For further information, please consult with the World Health Organization (WHO) website:
|Hepatitis A||Recommended for all travelers.|
|Hepatitis B||Recommended for all travelers.|
|Typhoid Fever||Recommended for all travelers.|
|Tetanus – Diphtheria – Pertussis Vaccine||Tetanus: In exceptional circumstances (eg, stay in a region where access to health care is limited), for a person aged 18 years or older, 1 dose of DT may be given if 5 years or more has elapsed since the last dose.
Otherwise, one booster dose at the age of 50*.
Pertussis (Whooping Cough): 1 dose is recommended for pregnant women, for every pregnancy, regardless of immunization history and the interval since the last dose (between week 26 and 32).
*Only applicable for Quebec.
|Polio||One-time booster recommended for any adult traveler who completed the childhood series but never had polio vaccine as an adult (after 18 years old only).|
|Measles – Rubella – Mumps||Two doses recommended for all travelers born after 1970, if not previously given.|
|Meningitis||Recommended for all travellers during the season(s). Consider immunization for specific groups or itineraries outside the dry season|
|Flu – Influenza||Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing or by touching infected surfaces. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine yearly. Vaccine is recommended 14 days prior to departure.|
|Routine vaccines (dCaT, Polio, Meningococcal, Shingles, Pneumococcal, Hepatitis B, HPV, MMR & Varicella)||Recommended for all travelers|
|African Tick Bite Fever||Presence. All travellers should protect themselves against tick bites.|
|Rabies||For travelers at high risk of animal bites or being involved in activities with bats, dogs and other mammals. Clients who plan to visit remote areas may consider receiving this vaccine. Important to note the pre-exposure rabies vaccine is administered in 2 doses with one week interval between doses. Post-exposure vaccination is always recommended, even for those previously vaccinated.|
|Schistosomiasis||Avoid swimming in fresh water.|
|Turista – Traveler’s Diarrhea (ETEC)||Talk to your health care professional about the risks and precautionary measures to take, as well as the Dukoral® vaccine. Important to note that the Dukoral vaccine is an oral vaccine given in 2 doses, recommended at least 2 weeks prior to departure.|
|Malaria||Malaria is present in this country. The risk may be region specific. Prophylaxis measures to be discussed with the health care professional.|
|Cholera||Recommended for humanitarian workers, health care providers and/or adults who are traveling to areas of active cholera transmission.|
|Dengue Fever, Chikungunya and/or Zika||There are many illnesses that are transmitted via mosquito bites and unfortunately we do not have vaccines to protect us against most of them. It is important to inquire with your healthcare professional regarding the specific risks and the different illnesses presently in circulation.|
|Antimalarials||Malarone, Doxycycline or Mefloquine|
|Altitude Sickness Medication||Acetazolamide/Dexaméthasone to prevent Acute mountain sickness (AMS).|
|Antibiotics for Traveler’s Diarrhea||Azithromycin or Suprax|
FOOD AND WATER-BORNE DISEASES in Ethiopia
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers’ diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Ethiopia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Ethiopia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Cholera is a risk in parts of Ethiopia. Most travellers are at very low risk.
To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.
Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:
- visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
- visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring
Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with one of our health care professionals.
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
Travellers’ diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions. The most important treatment for travellers’ diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
INSECTS AND ILLNESS in Ethiopia
In some areas in Ethiopia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus and yellow fever.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in Ethiopia. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
In Ethiopia, dengue fever is a risk to travellers year-round. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites. Dengue fever can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal. The level of risk of dengue fever changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. After a decline in reported dengue cases worldwide in 2017 and 2018, global numbers have been steeply rising again.
Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset. Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Cutaneous and mucosal leishmaniasis causes skin sores and ulcers. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly.
Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.
Visceral leishmaniasis (or kala azar) affects the bone marrow and internal organs. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly. It can also be transmitted by blood transfusion or sharing contaminated needles. If left untreated it can cause death. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.
Lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, is caused by filariae (tiny worms) spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause a range of illnesses. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for lymphatic filariasis although drug treatments exist.
Onchocerciasis (river blindness) is an eye and skin disease caused by a parasite spread through the bite of an infected female blackfly. Onchocerciasis often leads to blindness if left untreated. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from blackfly bites, which are most common close to fast-flowing rivers and streams. There is no vaccine available for onchocerciasis although drug treatments exist.
Zika virus is a risk in Ethiopia.
Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.
Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should visit a health care professional before travelling to discuss the potential risks of travelling to Ethiopia. Pregnant women may choose to avoid or postpone travel to Ethiopia.
Zika travel recommendations:
- Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
- If you are pregnant, always use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact with anyone who has travelled to Ethiopia for the duration of your pregnancy.
- Women: Wait 2 months after travel to Ethiopia or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy. If your male partner travelled with you, wait 3 months after travel or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer).
- Men: Wait 3 months after travel to Ethiopia or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy.
For more information, see Zika virus: Advice for travellers
MALARIA in Ethiopia
- There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
- Book your travel consultation, preferably six weeks before you travel, to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.
ANIMALS AND ILLNESS in Ethiopia
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Ethiopia, like avian influenza, Ebola, and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
PERSON-TO-PERSON INFECTIONS in Ethiopia
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
MEDICAL SERVICES AND FACILITIES in Ethiopia
Good health care is limited in availability in Addis Ababa. Facilities outside of the capital are not up to Canadian standards. Shortages of medicine occur. Emergency assistance is limited.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
As medicines in Ethiopia are sometimes in short supply, it is strongly advised that you bring all the medications you could need in sufficient quantities when traveling to Ethiopia. Be advised that you need an authorization from the Ethiopian Ministry of Health to enter the country with a large quantity of medicines. Pharmacies in Ethiopia are not well stocked and the drugs they sell are not of reliable quality.
KEEP IN MIND…
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
SECURITY in Ethiopia
Understand security and safety risks of travelling in Ethiopia
Emergency services in Ethiopia
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 991
- medical assistance: 907
- firefighters: 939